The Sea Wolf

Screening on Film
Directed by Michael Curtiz.
With Edward G. Robinson, Ida Lupino, John Garfield.
US, 1941, 35mm, black & white, 98 min.
Print source: Warner Bros.

The grotesque microcosm aboard The Ghost certainly contains allusions to the burgeoning power of fascism abroad, yet Rossen’s script – adapted from the Jack London novel – voyages more deeply into a timeless, mythic realm. At the helm is Edward G. Robinson’s masterfully rendered madman Captain Wolf Larsen, who relishes his reign in Hell by brute force and merciless manipulation. When fate washes three feisty outsiders aboard his “gallery of rogues,” the secretly erudite Captain is faced with defending his wicked empire to those whose consciences and intellects he has not yet battered into submission. Curtiz and Rossen’s turbulent parable presses the mass of humanity directly into an oversized, macabre ego – magnificently wrapping a noir fairy tale around an alarming reality.

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The Bodies and Souls of Robert Rossen

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